When the Coast Is Clear
Today marks 100 days since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and touched off an environmental catastrophe. The last I heard, the cap over the broken wellhead was still holding, and BP expects its relief well will intercept the original hole within two weeks and then they'll hopefully be able to plug the damn thing for good. But millions of gallons of brown goo are still sloshing around in the Gulf or settling into the sediments at the bottom, and it's going to be there for years, if not decades or centuries, to come. So this seems like an especially appropriate and poignant time to post the following music video. It's a clip from the free concert Jimmy Buffett gave in Gulf Shores, Alabama, on July 11, which was broadcast live without commercial interruption on the CMT network and which I finally got around to watching just last weekend. (Thanks to The Girlfriend for recording it for me, since I am one of those Luddites who only watches the TV channels I can pull out of the airwaves for free.)
This is the finale of the show, a reworking of Jimmy's 24-year-old ballad "When the Coast Is Clear." It was always a melancholy song -- originally it was about the end of summer and the self-reflection brought on by the change of season -- but these new lyrics are downright heartbreaking. Watch for the pretty girl at about 2:10 who looks like she's fighting back tears. I was, too, and I've never been anywhere near the Gulf Coast...
I know we need the oil, and I'm a far cry from a treehugging environmentalist -- anyone who reads this blog knows how much I love driving my cars -- but there's going to come a day when people will realize just how damn shortsighted and clumsy our civilization has been, how much damage we've caused to ourselves and everything around us. After Deepwater Horizon, I think maybe that day is close. I just hope we can live with the regret.